Al Chet: Sins in the Marketplace
Jason Aronson, 1996 - 217 pages
The viduy, or confessional, is the central prayer on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Recited both silently and by the cantor, the viduy is a confession of sins committed both individually and as a community. Each line of the prayer begins with al chet shechatanu, "for the sin which we have committed." A major theme of the viduy is social immorality and unethical behavior. In Al Chet: Sins in the Marketplace, Meir Tamari, a renowned authority in the field of Jewish business ethics, explores the viduy specifically as it relates to the business world.
Within Judaism's rich body of texts, there are discussions relevant to contemporary business issues, including insider trading, limited liability corporations, false advertising, and the pirating of computer software. Using the viduy as a guide, Tamari explores the sins resulting from business activities using textual material culled from the Bible, the Mishnah, and the Talmud, the homiletic literature and moralistic texts, as well as sayings and stories from some of the greatest rabbis in Jewish history.
Following a discussion of teshuvah, "repentance," and the necessity of confession to achieve it, thirteen specific sins are explained. Some, such as "bribery" and "usury and interest," are obvious in their relation to business ethics. Others are less clear but perhaps more important, such as "brazen arrogance," which can lead to the browbeating of competitors, employees, and debtors, and "callousness," which can result in ignoring the needs of the disadvantaged or the harassment of employees. Subconscious drives such as gluttony, envy, and jealousy are also explored as they relate to business. For example, the blurring of needs and wants that results in gluttony also plays a role in the search for a constantly rising standard of living.
To conclude, the author presents Judaism's ways of avoiding and atoning for these sins, so that "you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord" (Deuteronomy 6:18). Psalm 15, which presents eleven cardinal principles of Jewish observance, all concerning the earning and spending of money, forms a striking epilogue to this thought-provoking volume.
Whether studied in anticipation of Yom Kippur or used as a guide for personal and professional life, the insights revealed here will be invaluable to all entrepreneurs, creditors, debtors, employers, employees, producers, and consumers.
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The Principles of Repentance
IN THE MARKETPLACE IN THE WORKPLACE AND IN THE HOME
Needs and Wants
Positive and Negative CommandmentsMitzvot Asei and Mitzvot Lo Taaseh
Consequences of Immortality and Sin in Matters between Man and Man
What Is Kiddush Hashem?
BYETZER HARABY THE ABILITY TO DO EVIL
Faith as the Antidote for the Financial Yetzer Hara
Educating the Yetzer Hara
BYODIM UVLO YODIMWITTINGLY AND UNWITTINGLY
The Corporate Veil
BIMUTZ HALEVBY ACTING CALLOUSLY
Alternative Forms of Imutz Halev
Obstructing Kindness to NonJews
BGILUY UVASETERIN PUBLIC AND IN SECRET
Weights and Measures
Price GougingMafkia Mechirim
BDAAT UVMIRMAKNOWINGLY AND DECEITFULLY
Geneivat DaatMisleading People
Theft of Intellectual PropertyCopyrights Tapes Cassettes
BHONAAT REAHBY OPPRESSING A FELLOWMAN
BCHOZEK YADBY VIOLENCE
Loans and Trust Funds
Aiding and Abetting
CHILLUL HASHEMBY DESECRATING GODS NAME
What Is Chillul Hashem?
Socially Acceptable Immorality
Negligence and Carelessness
BKHAPAT SHOCHADBY BRIBERY
Beyond the Judiciary
BKHACHASH UVKHAZAVBY DENIAL AND BY FALSEHOOD
BMASA UVMATANIN COMMERCE AND IN BUSINESS
Limited Liability Corporation
Competition Prices Profits
Preempting in Negotiating
BMAACHAL UVMISHTEHIN EATING AND DRINKING
Lo TachmodLo TitavehYou Shall Not Covet and You Shall Not Desire
Modesty in Consumption
BNESHECH UVMARBITBY INTEREST AND USURY
IssurRibitThe Injunction against Taking Interest
AND YOU SHALL DO THAT WHICH IS RIGHT AND GOOD IN THE EYES OF GOD
Bitzdiat ReahEnsnaring People
actions applies authorities Bava become benefit blessed borrower bring buyer cause chap charity Choshen Mishpat claim commandment communal confession considered corporation court creditor crime damage deal debtor defraud desire Deuteronomy Divine earned economic evil example Exodus eyes faith false fear fellow field forbidden force fraud give God's halakhah halakhic hands heart Hilkhot Holy human immoral individual interest involved Israel Jewish Jews justice knowledge knows land lend Leviticus living loan Lord means measures Mishneh Torah mitzvah moral Name needs non-Jew obligated offer one's oppression owner person poor positive possessions present profit punishment Rabbi refers regarding repentance rule Sages says Sefer sell Shulchan Arukh sins social spiritual steal subsec Talmud Bavli Teshuvah theft things tion transgresses truth verse wants wealth weights witness written